Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Monday, September 19, 2011

August Recess Meeting A Success

Thanks to all of our volunteers who helped us contact key federal legislators during the August Recess on important issues like NIH funding, FIT Kids Act, Medicaid and Medicare and Safe Routes to Schools.

Congressman Kline Meeting

AHA volunteer, Stevie Nelson, set up a meeting with Congressman Kline’s District Director, Brooke Dorobiala on Aug. 18, 2011. Congressman Kline chairs the Labor and Education Committee in the US House of Representatives so will be making decisions about whether the FIT Kids Act will be included in the final education bill that is under consideration. The “Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act” amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to increase children’s physical activity throughout the school day and ensure that they learn how to live healthy lives through exercise and diet.

We had an all-star line-up for our meeting with Ms. Dorobiala. Along with long-time AHA volunteer and stroke survivor, Stevie Nelson, we had Jack Olwell, an elementary school physical education teacher in Kline’s district, two Republican state legislators (Rep. Bob Dettmer and Sen. Ted Daley) who have taken leadership on childhood obesity and have passed legislation to improve kids health at the state level, and Becky Gonzalez-Campoy the executive director of Minnesota Center for Obesity, Metabolism & Endocrinology Foundation and an American Cancer Society volunteer. With this all-star line-up we were able to demonstrate to Congressman Kline the wealth of expertise he has in his own district and their strong passion to address these issues. Along with the children’s health/chronic disease prevention arguments, we were able to present a strong case for why this is a national security issue. Stevie Nelson, Rep. Dettmer and Sen. Ted Daley are all retired from military service and were able to speak directly to the negative impact childhood obesity has on the number of young adults who are ready and able to serve. American Heart Association is grateful for these wonderful volunteers and their passionate message for children’s health.

In photo:
Jack Olwell, Justin Bell (AHA staff), Sen. Ted Daley, Becky Gonzalez-Campoy, Brooke Dorobiala, Stevie Nelson, Rachel Callanan (AHA staff), and Matt Schafer (ACS staff)

Congressman Paulsen Meeting

On September 7th the American Heart Association attended another follow up meeting with Congressman Erik Paulsen’s office to discuss the FIT KIDS ACT. Earlier this year AHA met with Con. Paulsen’s staff to discuss FIT KIDS and were asked to check in again during August recess with the Congressman himself. In attendance was Jack Olwell (Phy Ed teacher from Farmington MN and member of the AHA State Advocacy Committee, Dr. Stephen Geis (Principal Farmington MN and National rep. from Elementary Principal’s Association), State Rep. Bob Dettmer and State Sen. Ted Daley (members of MN Childhood Obesity Working Group and author’s of AHA Joint Use bill 2010), Heather Schetka and Justin Bell (AHA staff).

We discussed the work being done in Minnesota to combat childhood obesity and asked for the Congressman’s support for the FIT KIDS ACT on the national level. We also asked Congressman Paulsen to discuss the meeting and the legislation with Congressman Kline (Ed Committee chair) and he agreed.

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